The 9 Triggers of Acne and How to Prevent Them

Acne is an inflammatory skin condition that affects the skin's hair follicles and oil glands. The symptoms are pimples, pustular breakouts, blackheads, congestion, whiteheads, and afterwards, scarring.

In the past few years, acne has become one of the most common skin concerns to be experienced - starting at puberty throughout the teenage years all the way to that persistent and apparently unexplainable adult acne.

Have you ever wonder what exactly triggers your acne? There are 9 main triggers with the potential of being the root cause behind acne.

Here are the 9 triggers of acne:

1. Genetics

There is no particular gene you can inherit that will give you acne, but genetics can play a role in whether you are prone to getting acne. This can be a decider from your parents, grandparents, and their influences of hormones and lifestyle which contribute to their children's skin. This genetic inheritance can be shown in an overproduction of sebum, which results in acne.

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2. Hormones

Androgens are the most important group of hormones in what comes to regulating sebum production. Androgens are hormones that contribute to growth and reproduction in both sexes, and they are: testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone.

As of puberty, androgens stimulate sebum production, with testosterone being the leading hormone in increasing of sebum.

If you have an increase or decrease in any of these androgen hormones that may affect your production of sebum, causing acne. For example, in females, when estrogen drops and progesterone increases, the sebum production also increases, and we tend to see this through breakouts in the jawline and chin.

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As an antioxidant, vitamin A can help promote better skin health by fighting free radicals. Vitamin A may also help ward off inflammation, an underlying factor in acne, increase cell turnover, which will reduce the clogging of pores and scarring formation and also works as an anti-ageing ingredient.

3. Stress

Chronic levels of stress increase the stress-related hormone cortisol, leading our oil glands into overdrive, which increases sebum production, activates our inflammatory response and slows down the healing and repair of acne lesions.

Stress is a primary aggravating factor in adult breakouts. Not to mention it plays havoc in our nervous system, which causes the communication between our body cells not to work efficiently.

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4. Medications

Antibiotics and gut health do not go hand in hand.

One course of antibiotics can disrupt healthy bacteria populations for a minimum of 1 to 6 months. This then affects overall health and our bodies' ability to release nutrients from our food.

Antibiotics are commonly prescribed for acne suffers. The idea is to destroy and inhibit the growth of bacteria. This is to control the "C. Acne" levels. Antibiotics do not address the leading factor or causes of acne - this is why we tend to see acne come back once off the medication.

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5. Cosmetics

Removing all comedogenic ingredients from your skincare and makeup will allow your follicles to breathe and remain clear.

Investing in a more personalised cosmeceutical brand of skincare can help in not clogging the skin - which is a leading cause of pimples and breakouts.

When it comes to makeup, remember to frequently wash your make-up brushes or sponges and never go to bed with make-up on!

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Providing hydration deep below the skin’s surface, Acne Control Hydro-Matrix softens skin while it gently exfoliates, unclogs pores, fights ingrown hairs and decreases fine lines and wrinkles.

6. Environment

The weather can actually impact your skin, causing breakouts.

For example, the lack of UV exposure in wintertime, can result in bacterial and immune shifts that may affect your acne. Also, the cold weather can result in the dehydration of your skin. The warmer weather, with the extra sweat that clogs the pores, can also have an impact.

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7. Diet/Lifestyle

It's well known that a healthy diet contributes to healthy skin.

Certain foods can promote inflammation throughout the body, and this may trigger acne outbreaks. In addition, diet can affect hormones that, in turn, could make acne worse. For example, thyroid hormones are responsible for driving metabolism and therefore exert an effect on sebum secretion.

What we consume can be a leading cause of feeding the bacteria that results in acne. For example, a high glycemic food can increase our androgens response in our bodies, leading to breakouts.

Dairy is another example of an inflammatory food, which can increase acne inflammation and blood sugar levels. Besides, it can also make the skin more sensitive to androgens.

Another example of an inflammatory addition to your diet could be dietary supplements containing iodine, which are known to increase oil flow because of their ability to influence thyroxin production, the main hormone secreted into the bloodstream by the thyroid gland. This specific example is mostly appliable to very active gym goers, who might increase their creatine and whey protein shakes intake.

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8. Picking

As tempting as it maybe, picking your breakouts can only increase your acne.

When we pick at our breakouts, we actually generate another inflammatory response that injures the skin. This injured area of skin then undergoes a wound repair process, in which the body produces scar tissue (powered by collagen) to heal the wound. However, that healing process in itself might generate post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation - in other words, marks that are left behind on the skin after the breakout heals.

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9. Maskne

In order to slow the spread of COVID-19, a face mask has become a part of everyone's daily routine for almost two years now.

That has created a new trigger for acne: the so called "maskne". In this now popular occurrence, we have found that masks cause an increase in heat, friction, and blockages. Combined with the increase in moisture, sweat, and oil, it turns that particular area of the skin into a breeding ground for breakouts and congestion (especially if you have acne-prone skin).

Oil, bacteria, and blocked pores can also build up more than usual from wearing a mask, and this prolonged period of increased heat and sweat can also cause the skin to become irritated, itchy, and sensitive.

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This advanced blemish-fighting formula helps reduce inflammation, clears up pimples and prevents new ones from forming without over-drying.

About The Author

My name is Sari Pols,
I have been in the skincare industry for over 15 years. My passion lies in ‘Health’. Health for the skin and body. My philosophy is if we have good well-being on the inside, then it shows our vitality on the outside.
I have furthered my knowledge of Skin Anatomy, Skin Concerns, and Fitness. I am a true believer in how to make my clients feel their best both inside and out. My emphasis is on guiding my clients through their journey of skin concerns and conditions. I do not like to band-aid a concern or condition but want to get down to the root of the cause. I aim to give personalised consultations with treatment and correct prescribed skin products.

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